Publius-Huldah's Blog

Understanding the Constitution

The Governor of Tennessee Must Obey Tennessee Law: No State Insurance Exchange!

By Publius Huldah

According to an article posted by Lesley Swann of the Tennessee Tenth Amendment Center, the federal obamacare Act doesn’t actually require The People to submit to obamacare.1

Accordingly, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sibelius is demanding that The States set up State Insurance Exchanges, by means of which The States will force The People into obamacare.

While 20 States have already given notice that they will not implement obamacare by setting up the State Exchanges; Tennessee’s RINO Governor, Bill Haslam, is “undecided” as to whether he will force Tennesseans to submit to obamacare.

But Haslam has no lawful authority to force The People of Tennessee into State Exchanges. If he does it anyway, he will commit the following five (5) violations of Tennessee Law:

1. The Tennessee Health Freedom Act

The Tennessee Legislature enacted in 2011 the Tennessee Health Freedom Act, codified at Tenn. Code Ann. Sec. 56-7-1016. 2

Under this Act, no public official, employee, or agent of Tennessee may force The People of Tennessee to purchase health insurance or impose any penalty for not purchasing such insurance.

So if Haslam attempts to force The People of Tennessee to participate in a State Insurance Exchange, he will violate the Tennessee Health Freedom Act.

2. The State Legislature makes the Laws – not the Governor

The Constitution of the State of Tennessee says at Article II:

“Section 1: The powers of the government shall be divided into three distinct departments: legislative, executive, and judicial.

Section 2: No person or persons belonging to one of these departments shall exercise any of the powers properly belonging to either of the others, except in the cases herein directed or permitted. [boldface mine]

Section 3: The legislative authority of this state shall be vested in a General Assembly, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives….”

If Haslam attempts to force Tennesseans into a State Insurance Exchange, he will violate the Separation of Powers Principle enshrined at Art. II, Sections 1 – 3.

3. The Governor’s Powers are Enumerated, Defined, and Strictly Limited.

Here is a complete list of the enumerated powers and duties of the Governor of Tennessee. Article III provides that:

Section 1: The executive power of the state is vested in a governor [See Sec. 10 below].

Section 5: The governor is commander-in-chief of the State Militia

Section 6: The governor may grant reprieves and pardons.

Section 8: The governor may require written information from officers in the executive department, about their duties.

Section 9: The governor may, on extraordinary occasions, convene the General Assembly.

Section 10: The governor shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed.

Section 11: The governor is to give the Legislature information on the state of the government, and recommend matters for their consideration.

Section 14: The governor may temporarily fill vacancies in office.

Section 15: The governor is to be keeper of the Seal of the State of Tennessee.

Section 16: The governor is to sign and seal all grants and commissions of the State.

Section 18: The governor is to sign, or veto, or allow to become law without his signature, every Bill, Joint Resolution or Order passed by the Legislature. He may reduce or disapprove sums of money appropriated for specific items.

Article VI, Section 11: When any judge of the State Supreme Court is disqualified from presiding over a case, the governor is to specially commission another person to serve as judge on that case.

Article VIII, Section 2: The governor is to appoint certain officers of the State Militia.

That’s it! That’s all the governor of the State of Tennessee has lawful authority to do. He has no lawful authority to make laws. He has no lawful authority to force Tennesseans into a Health Insurance Exchange. If Haslam attempts to do this anyway, he will usurp powers not delegated to him by the Tennessee Constitution.

4. The Governor’s Duty is to Enforce the Laws the Legislature Makes!

Note that Art. III, Sec. 10 requires the governor to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed”. As long as the laws made by the Legislature are constitutional, the governor is obligated to enforce them! This means that Haslam must refuse to implement the State Exchange. If he doesn’t refuse to implement the State Exchange, he will be guilty of dereliction of his Constitutional Duty.

5. The Governor is Required by his Oath to Obey the Tennessee Constitution

Article X, Section 1, of the Tennessee Constitution requires the governor to take an Oath to support the Tennessee Constitution.

If he takes his orders from Kathleen Sibelius instead of from the Tennessee Constitution and the Tennessee Legislature, he will violate his Oath to support the State Constitution.

Article X, Sec. 1 of the Tennessee Constitution, and Art. VI, clause 3 of the federal Constitution, also require Haslam to support the federal Constitution. Obamacare is altogether unconstitutional as outside the scope of the legislative powers delegated to Congress. This is plain and clearly proven. 3 Thus, Haslam is required by Oath to refuse to enforce obamacare because obamacare is unconstitutional.

If Haslam Violates the State Constitution and State Law, he must be Impeached and Removed.

Article V, Sec. 4 of the Tennessee Constitution provides that the governor shall be liable to impeachment whenever, in the opinion of the Tennessee House of Representatives, he commits any crime in his official capacity which requires disqualification.

Webster’s 1828 Dictionary (1828 definition) defines “Crime” [link] as

“1. An act which violates a law, divine or human; an act which violates a rule of moral duty; an offense against the laws of right, prescribed by God or man, or against any rule of duty plainly implied in those laws. A crime may consist in omission or neglect, as well as in commission, or positive transgression…”

Any governor who ignores the State Constitution, ignores State law, violates his Oath of Office, and usurps power must be removed from office. 4

End Notes:

The link I had to Lesley Swann’s article is broken, and I can’t find the article – so sorry! 
I haven’t read the obamacare Act. It is over 2000 pages long, and is being implemented right now by thousands of more pages of HHS & IRS Rules. Our Framers warned us of laws which were

“… so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man, who knows what the law is to-day, can guess what it will be to-morrow…”(Federalist Paper No. 62, 4th para from end)

2 The hyperlinks at lexus nexus don’t work. To find the text of the Tennessee Health Freedom Act, click on then type in the search term, “Tennessee Health Freedom Act”, jump thru the hoops, and you will find the Act. It is short and worth reading.

3 See, e.g. these model Nullification Resolutions for obamacare

4 Impeachment and removal from office for usurpations of power is expressly authorized by our federal Constitution: See, as to removing a President who usurps power: Federalist Paper No. 66, 2nd para, and No. 77, last para. As to removing federal judges who usurp power, see Federalist Paper No. 81, 8th para.

December 12, 2012

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December 12, 2012 - Posted by | Health Care, Tennessee Constitution | , , , , ,


  1. […] The Governor of Tennessee Must Obey Tennessee Law: No State Insurance Exchange! […]


    Pingback by 10th Amendment Center Director TAC National Communications Director Mike Maharrey at Tn. Rally Against Obamacare | How A Conservative Thinks | March 11, 2013 | Reply

  2. […] read this article about if Haslam does expand Medicaid and open up the exchanges in Tn, he will be violating Tennessee State law in the Tennessee Health Freedom Act as it […]


    Pingback by Tennessee Exchange rejected; Medicaid decision looms | How A Conservative Thinks | March 4, 2013 | Reply

  3. Yes, I am involved with our state chapter of the 10th Amendment Center. Some days I feel like I am preaching to the choir, some days a brick wall. When members of our Tea Party group and I go to our capitol to lobby and testify before committee hearings, we talk to our legislators afterwards. You can just see their eyes glaze over when the 10th amendment is mentioned or nullification. We did have 30 republicans that voted their conscience and voted no. The rest sacrificed the taxpayers of MI on the altar of federal greed. I guess they must figure that when the federal dollars run out, our state has so much money to burn that we can make up the difference.

    According to what I have been told, once the house votes on a bill, it has to wait for 5 days before it goes to the floor and the senate votes on it. Whether weekends are considered part of the 5 days remains to be seen, but I don’t think so.

    The ones who voted yes have already received their notice that they will be primaried in 2014, including our RINO governor.


    Comment by Chris J | March 2, 2013 | Reply

  4. Saw you on YouTube today, Publius Huldah. Very smart.


    Comment by styersbd | March 1, 2013 | Reply

    • Thank you so much! And thanks for posting it.


      Comment by Publius Huldah | March 1, 2013 | Reply

  5. I’m looking for a quote to properly source Sebelius/Sibelius [sic]. Not even sure how to spell her name properly. Anywho :-)… I can’t find a valid source for her demands that States take action. Any thoughts? In my opinion, the HHS Secretary has no such authority.

    According to recent news, the NC GOP has been put on notice to return monies received by the former leadership with a message that PPACA and its associated exchanges are not welcome here.


    Comment by styersbd | December 12, 2012 | Reply

    • Well, you put your finger on the governmental crisis of our time: The obamacare act is so voluminous it can’t be read, so incoherent it can’t be understood, and it is being right now amended and expanded by thousands of more pages of HHS regs & IRS regs which are so voluminous they can’t read and so incoherent they can’t be understood.

      And Congress had no lawful authority to pass obamacare in the first place; and HHS & IRS are prohibited by Art. I, Sec. 1 from making laws – and they have no enumerated power to get involved in this area.

      So, it comes down, apparently, to letters or phone calls or orders from HHS Secretary to the 50 governors to tell them to do something she has no authority to tell them. Tennessee’s governor said, when he announced that TN would NOT set up a state exchange, that HHS “seems to making it up as they go along”. [I paraphrased, but that is the gist of what he said.]

      And you said, “In my opinion, the HHS Secretary has no such authority.”

      This is not a matter of “opinion”! “Opinion” has to do with subjective personal preferences, dislikes, emotions, etc.; polity has to do with objective facts. Whether the HHS Secretary has such authority is easily determined by reference to the Constitution! The whole thing is not one of the enumerated powers of Congress – I explain it all here:

      Thanks for your comment! Now I’m going to your website to find out what the “meme” in your site name means.


      Comment by Publius/Huldah | December 13, 2012 | Reply

      • I think you already know. Thank you for the polite and precise response. I have read all of your work, however, I am returning the favor of your response by taking a second look.
        “polity has to do with objective facts”
        I have to think about this one. Seems no objectivity exists to determine those facts. No one (with few exceptions) uses the word “polity”.


        Comment by styersbd | December 14, 2012 | Reply

        • My undergraduate degree is in philosophy and I specialized in political philosophy. The political philosophers do use the term. But perhaps I should use another phrase. The study of political philosophy begins with Plato – and gets even worse from there until one comes to the 17th Century Scottish and English Puritans: e.g., Lex, Rex by Rev. Samuel B. Rutherford, John Locke’s Discourse on civil government, and Algernon Sidney’s writings on civil government. THEIR writings were based on God’s Laws of civil government and social organization (“polity”) as set forth in the Bible.

          The objectivity comes from this: That Natural Law which is woven into the Fabric of Reality has as much to say about the best form of political & social organization of a People as it does about the laws of physics, mathematics, chemistry, logic, morality. Human Nature is fixed and very much fallen: A workable “polity” acknowledges these FACTS of Reality about human nature. A theist – like me – refers to all this as “God’s Laws”. But some non-theists (e.g., Ayn Rand) have figured out these laws of polity by using their own trained and powerful intellects.

          THIS is the basic distinguishing characteristic between the liberals and us: WE see Law as written into the Fabric of Reality and that all works out better if we learn and obey those Laws. The liberals are at WAR with Reality and recognize no law but their own precious feelings, impulses, lusts, and drives.

          My paper on pragmatism & existentialism contrasts the major shift in philosophy from that of our Framers to the mid-late 1800’s when we embraced the poison of Pragmatism.

          Stay in touch!


          Comment by Publius/Huldah | December 14, 2012 | Reply

          • I was having some fun with you. I had to look up the word ‘polity’, but the definition fell short of yours. I’ve more affinity to the objective definition. I intend to stay in touch.

            The ‘ad hominem’ refers to the use of personal attack in debate rather than to support a perspective with facts. In my sandbox, the other kids play rough, and facts are often conversation killers. Occasionally it’s overwhelmingly tempting to respond in like kind. The meme is my attitude toward the casual use of such tactics, that most are unaware they are even avoiding the facts in lieu of the personal attacks, and it seems programmed. In some ways I suppose I am searching for the source of it.

            I read once again your ‘How to get rid of Obamacare’ article. It is lengthy, and I admit I probably scanned it the first time through. This time around I read every word at my usually sloth-like pace. I’m interested in your source for contextual links to The Federalist (wish I could use italics in comments). I started reading it last year, and I tend to open it to the index and pick a topic. I use your papers as a source for source, eg, the contextual references to articles of The Federalist. I visit here often. Thank you for availing yourself to young scholars.


            Comment by styersbd | December 15, 2012

          • Of course I know what an “ad hominem” is – my dear Papa had a classical education and taught me logic when I was a young child – so I got the best head start a child could ever get. It was the “meme” which I didn’t know.

            You are right – the ad hominem is often employed – the irrational ones who employ it have no idea that what they are doing is ….. wrong.

            You said, “I’m interested in your source for contextual links to The Federalist”. I don’t know what you mean.
            Are you asking how do I know which Papers to cite? If that is your question: This was my undergraduate major – one of my political philosophy professors assigned us The Federalist Papers to read. I read them and outlined them in my early 20s. I know them practically by heart. So, it’s a simple matter to pull the appropriate ones out of my well organized memory bank when I need them as authority to prove a point.

            One thing I continually stress is this: WE MUST USE ORIGINAL SOURCES ONLY! Don’t read a book someone wrote about what Hamilton, Madison, Jefferson said or thought – Read only the original writings of those men. Alexander Hamilton in particular has been viciously maligned by writers of secondary sources. We can not trust writers of secondary sources to be honest. They are not.

            You will surely note that MY papers on Our Constitution are merely an application of what our Framers said [quoting from original sources] about our Constitution.

            An attorney friend is writing a translation of The Federalist Papers. We have discussed my helping him prepare a collation of The Federalist Papers to the Constitution. So, that, when you get to, e.g., the “general welfare” clause in the Constitution, the margin note will direct you to, e.g., Federalist No. 41 (last 4 paras). This will enable everyone to quickly ascertain original intent of just about every clause. And the reader will be directed to the original text of those 4 paras and the modern simplified re-write.

            Thou some of the phrases, e.g., “natural born citizen”, require reference to other original sources known to our Framers.


            Comment by Publius/Huldah | December 15, 2012

          • I try not to assume anything.
            So there is no shortcut to The Federalist other than memory? I’m just not that good. I suppose I could begin compiling my own with summaries.
            We’re all secondary sources. Providing the source, the original writings by the authors, is courtesy. I value your work as a source for sources.


            Comment by styersbd | December 16, 2012

  6. PH,

    I got your email today and responded to your request. I sent a request to my State Legislator Dan Logue. You can read my letter to Logue at: Thank you for the suggestion on this action event.

    Edward C. Noonan
    Founder – American Resistance Party


    Comment by ednoonan7 | December 12, 2012 | Reply

    • Thank you so much, Ed!


      Comment by Publius/Huldah | December 12, 2012 | Reply

  7. From the Chattanooga News-Free Press, 12-11-12, Haslam says NO to health insurance exchanges. Then he says to a group he was speaking to, “That’s scary, quite frankly, More and more I”m convinced they (Obama administration officials) are making this up as they go.” The Governor of the State of Tennessee is scared????!!! No more compromises with the devil and his henchmen. We have a State Law passed by our State Legislature and the Governor needs to execute that law, NO OBAMACARE IN TENNESSEE.
    REPEAL – Federal Revenue Sharing Grants of 1965 from Washington and this wickedness will end. We don’t send “FORCED money” up to Washington, and they cannot sent it back to us with rules, regulations and mandates that enslave and destroy, both States and Counties. It is time to see the Bill of Rights come forth. 10th Amendment State Boundaries and 9th Amendment – County Boundaries. The State doesn’t come to the Counties and destroy our LOCALLY Elected Offices including but not limited to, Locally Elected School Boards, Locally Elected Sheriffs, Locally Elected Property Assessors, etc. We, the people, keep our Local distinctions with LOCALLY Elected County Commissions, we Keep our Locally collected money in the Counties (If we don’t have it, we don’t spend it), and that’s what we have to do with, No more “Federal or State Revenue sharing”. This was a wicked concept to destroy America, back to our Beloved Christian Foundations.
    For God & Country


    Comment by Ruth Ann Wilson | December 12, 2012 | Reply

    • Amen, Sister!


      Comment by Publius/Huldah | December 12, 2012 | Reply

    • Thanks, MK!

      Heritage Foundation is a continual source of MISINFORMATION about our Constitution. It’s basically the warmed over mush we were taught in law school.

      I see that the Heritage article you linked to was posted a while ago. I remember seeing one of their posts on nullification which raised a torrent of objections from readers – readers basically telling Heritage they didn’t know what they were talking about. I don’t recall if this is the same article or a different one. But I didn’t see the critical comments just now.

      It is distressing – our “conservative” “leaders” get their info from Heritage Foundation – and they believe everything Heritage says. I don’t know what to do about it.

      Our People lack discernment. But I will write a paper specifically rebutting the idiocy of this Heritage paper.


      Comment by Publius/Huldah | December 12, 2012 | Reply

  8. Our RINO Governor in Michigan is going for a “partnership” with the federal gov’t. He seems to think that the feds will let him run his little fiefdom the way he wants. My local Tea Party group and others from around the state have successfully killed all the insurance bills that have come through our legislature time and time again. However, he doesn’t understand that there is no requirement for a federal/private partnership in the Obamacare rules. And if he DOES get his partnership, the feds are still going to tell him what to do.

    He has his Right to Work victory right now, so we’ll see if that will have any effect on his drive to join with the federal gov’t for Obamacare exchanges.


    Comment by Chris J | December 12, 2012 | Reply

    • Well, Cato Institute has done much work showing that obamacare has the glitch which doesn’t require the people or the States to participate – that’s why Sibelius is pushing the State Insurance Exchanges so the STATES will be the ones to force it on The People. If you click on the link to the TN 10th amendment center paper which I cite – and then click on their link to the Cato Institute Research, you will have it from the horse’s mouth.

      Then, People in Michigan need to study your State Constitution and see what it says about the powers of your State governor. You may find that they are as limited as are those of TN’s governor.

      Do you have any decent State legislators who will sponsor and push a bill similar to Tennessee’s health Freedom law?


      Comment by Publius/Huldah | December 12, 2012 | Reply

      • Publius, I watched the You Tube video. You owned the TN AG. I wish you could have come to Michigan and talked to our committee hearings on Obamacare exchanges and now the Medicaid expansion part of it. Our RINO governor and his minions buttonholed enough fence sitters that our house passed the bill. Now it has to go to the senate for a vote.That should be anytime after 5 days. It’s looking like Michigan will be the next state to cave in. We haven’t been able to prove this yet, but we are still digging. We think our governor caved on the whole exchange package because he is going to get federal funds to build another bridge to Canada where one is not needed as we already have 3 perfectly good bridges going to Canada.

        Keep up your good work. You do it well and in simple, easy to understand language.


        Comment by Chris J | March 1, 2013 | Reply

        • Chris, are you involved with your Michigan Tenth Amendment Center yet? I found the YouTube link through my Tenth Amendment Center of NC, and I’m sure Michigan will have one too.


          Comment by styersbd | March 1, 2013 | Reply

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